A Chicago man who teaches GED and adult literacy classes to Cook County Jail inmates has been charged with custodial sexual misconduct for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a female detainee on two occasions this past January. Both the defendant and the detainee were over the age of 18. While there does not appear to be allegations that the sex was not consensual, Illinois law prohibits consent to intercourse as a defense in custodial situations. However, that does not mean that the defendant has no chance of having the case against him reduced or dismissed.
Custodial Sexual Misconduct in Illinois
Illinois law prohibits employees of any penal system or treatment and detention facility from engaging in any type of sexual conduct or penetration with a person who is in the custody of either facility. The law states that a prisoner or detainee is deemed incapable of consenting to the sexual conduct. Conviction under this statute is a Class 3 felony, which carries a possible penalty of 3-5 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.
Defense against Custodial Sexual Misconduct in Illinois
As already discussed, consent is not a defense to a charge of custodial sexual misconduct. But an experienced sex crimes attorney knows how to find the flaws in the prosecution’s case to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Illinois law does allow as a defense to custodial sexual misconduct that the defendant “has no knowledge, and would have no reason to believe, that the person with whom he or she engaged in custodial sexual misconduct was a person in custody.” The class the defendant taught in this case had voluntary attendance, which means he likely did not have a class roster of inmates who would be in attendance. If the inmate came to class in civilian clothes and claimed that she was a Cook County jail employee, the defendant would have had no way to prove that she was lying, as he had no class list to check. An experienced criminal defense attorney would examine all of the circumstances, including the inmate’s actions, demeanor and clothing, to determine whether the defendant should have known she was an inmate.
It is also always a defense to any sexual assault charge that no sexual conduct took place, or in other words, that the alleged victim is lying. If none of the defendant’s DNA was found on the inmate, and if there was no other physical evidence indicating that any type of sexual conduct happened, the case would come down to he said/she said. In these cases, a criminal defense attorney would want to:
- interview all potential witnesses;
- interview anybody who knew the alleged victim, particularly prison employees who interacted with her on a daily basis;
- review any of the alleged victim’s treatment or prison notes; and
- review her criminal record, including the conviction that sent her to jail.
The purpose of this extensive review of the alleged victim’s background would be to see if she had made similar accusations against prison officials or others in a position of authority in the past; if she had a history of lying, or; if she had had any prior trouble with the defendant over attending the class. All of these could point to her having made up the story of sexual misconduct either to get back at the teacher for a prior slight – perhaps him rebuffing her advances – or as a pattern of past behavior. Proving that the alleged victim made the story up would result in an acquittal. Continue reading